Uplifting commentary on the Gospels, Acts, early Apostolic history, and a life of discipleship.
The “one who asks” refers to the one who asks the Father in prayer, as James the brother of the Master explained, “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). The rabbis teach, “An answer to prayer is connected to the calling, and calling is connected to the answer.”
Disciples of Yeshua should not declare God’s condemnation against others or presume to know God’s verdict regarding a human being. We should he point to a fellow’s misfortune and declare him justly repaid for wrongdoing. The disciple of Yeshua should be the most reluctant of all to declare a man’s final judgment and eternal destiny.
The life of John the Immerser, who lived in the wilderness eating and wearing only what he found, illustrates Yeshua’s teaching about God providing food, drink, and clothing. Discipleship to Yeshua did not allow for an abdication of responsibility, but it did call for a renunciation of worry and anxiety.
The slave with two masters will by way of necessity prefer one master over the other. The slave with divided loyalties cannot serve both masters simultaneously, so he must choose one over the other, even if he truly wishes he could serve both. His preference for one master will eventually evolve into disdain for the other.
Yeshua taught his disciples to expect persecution. He said, “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). By saying “theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” Yeshua indicated that those who endure persecution for his sake will find entrance into the kingdom.
Yeshua said to his disciples, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). Yeshua’s beatitude about peacemakers contradicted the first-century zealot impulse that called for taking up armed resistance against Rome. Several of His disciples embraced the zealot ideal. The beatitude about peacemaking attempted to turn their thoughts away from armed revolution.
Yeshua teaches, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7). Those who are merciful and compassionate towards others are blessed because they will receive mercy and compassion from God. Conversely, one who does not show mercy toward others should not expect to receive mercy from heaven.
Yeshua taught his disciples that those who hunger and thirst now are especially blessed because they will enjoy being satisfied in the Messianic Era. Does this refer to the poor and needy who literally hunger from lack of food and thirst from lack of clean water? Or does it refer to a spiritual hunger and thirst?
Yeshua says, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Who are the meek? The Greek text behind this saying implies one who is mild-mannered, gentle, soft, and passive. Why are the passive and meek-hearted destined to possess the earth?
The shepherd is Yeshua. The lost sheep is a sinner. The ninety-nine other sheep are the righteous and pious who did not need to repent. The shepherd leaves the ninety-nine to seek the lost sheep just as Yeshua neglected the Pharisees and scribes in order to associate with “the sinners and the tax collectors.”